Dalits continue to be marginalised sections of the society inspite of numerous measures for their upliftment. Discuss the constructive measures required to address the concerns of the community.
The decision of the Supreme Court to put riders on the various provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act led to huge protests by the community and after an appeal, the Supreme Court overturned its earlier order.
Politicisation of the Issue
As per the records of the National Crime Records Bureau, there was a 66 per cent increase in cases of atrocities against Dalits and tribal communities from 2007 to 2017.
The main problem here is looking the concerns of Dalit with a through a political lens. There is an urgent need to depoliticise the Dalit issue and analyse it from a fresh perspective to undertake some constructive measures.
Representation is the First Step
The Act of Parliament represents the vision of the elected representatives in whom sovereignty rests. The Prevention of Atrocities Act was premised on the objective of the delivery of justice to marginalised communities, thereby ending social disability.
With the advent of globalisation, growth and modernisation, the caste prejudice has also undergone a major shift. There is a glaring absence of Dalits in critical decision-making positions, both in the government and private institutions.
The numbers of Dalit vice-chancellors and professors in academia, editors in the media and senior officers in the bureaucracy is dismally low. This lack of representation automatically translates to a lack of empathy and a sense of ownership.
Many consider caste as an outdated institution in the 21st century. But Caste has not become redundant. It has merely relocated itself. The nature of institutional support in terms of mentorship available to privileged communities is missing for Dalits. As a result, they continue to remain an excluded community.
Hence the constructive measures to address the dalit concerns must begin by bringing them to the table on policymaking and implementation.